When Cali Callaway ’17 was 13 years old, her grandfather slipped and fell down the stairs, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. When his neurosurgeon made light of the situation upon arrival at the hospital, Cali vowed that when she became a doctor she would ensure that her patients had positive experiences.
“We found another neurosurgeon who was caring and compassionate, and even though my grandfather died that week, he made it bearable,” she said. “It highlighted for me the importance of communicating compassionately with patients during high stress situations.”
The experience sparked her interest in the human brain, and throughout high school, she sought opportunities to learn more about it. She took summer courses at Brown University and interned at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, examining the effectiveness of robotic rehabilitation devices on stroke and spinal cord injury survivors.
When it was time to look at colleges, the Johns Creek native had a difficult time deciding between a number of elite institutions, including UGA, Yale, MIT, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. When she was offered a Foundation Fellowship, UGA’s foremost undergraduate scholarship, she knew UGA was the best choice.